See this band at your peril…

Compering the local Spotlight Club’s Gong Night — 18 excellent contestants offering performances mix of stand up, poetry and song in a bid to win a £50 first prize — was great fun on Friday night, but I have to admit complete bafflement at the decision to round the night off with a performance from Cogna, an avant-garde duo that left me completely cold and the room virtually empty within about 30 minutes – no mean feat considering how crowded it was.

Perhaps as a warning to others, some kind soul has posted a segment of one of their earlier gigs on MySpace. I noticed a couple of people mobcasting this latest performance, so you might find that on the web at some point, too. There are a number of videos of them on YouTube. (The band also has its own web site and happily informs visitors the filmed gig above was described by one local reviewer as “weird s***”, which they took as a compliment).

Nygel Harriot won the £50, a man with huge comic talent (he’s written jokes for Ken Dodd in the past, among other scripting work).

Yes, Lancaster is oozing talent of all kinds these days, and not just comics artists like Paul Harrison Davis and Ant Mercer. But not, I feel, from every quarter…

(I’m reliably informed by cartoonist Nick Miller that although Cogna may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they do not deserve the description of “possibly Lancaster’s worst band ever”. That moniker surely belogs to a a bunch of University students calling themselves Rhino back in the 1990s.

“They always turned up at their gigs so drunk they were incapable of playing their instruments, or doing much more than giggling and falling about,” Nick recalls. “People were paying good money to see this. Anyway, they managed to do a couple of gigs and then disappeared, by popular request. Our Off the Beat reviewer covered what turned out to be their last gig, and we published the review under the title RHINO PLASTERED.

“So far as I know, no demo tapes of this band exist, anywhere. Thank God. If Myspace had existed back in those days, no doubt they would have made a tape of themselves throwing up (it would have been slightly more musical)…”

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